It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But the connection between happy employees and business success cannot be underestimated. We’re all human at the end of the day, not robots, and that means it’s important for us to feel valued in all areas of our lives, work being no exception.
In my book, Your Bigger Future, I recall a TV documentary about NASA which illustrates this point. When the presenter was interviewing staff about their roles at the space station, one man replied that he had been part of the team who had put the first man on the moon. What really struck me about this interview was that this particular member of staff was a cleaner. This is an example of great staff management; those leading the mission had clearly made him feel truly valued by letting him know he was a very important cog in the machine. No person in the business should be made to feel less important than others; everyone has a part to play.
Give more than just thanks
While a sincere ‘thank you’ for a job well done is important and shouldn’t be overlooked, there is more to treating staff well than just verbal appreciation. These days, flexibility and good communication allow staff to feel trusted. On top of this, ongoing development and training, as well as a transfer of skills from the older workforce to younger team members, can help show staff that the business is invested in their future, and in turn keep them motivated. As I discussed in my last blog, a leader needs to be driven and encouraging, and this in turn will help to keep employees engaged.
As I’ve referred to before, it was Richard Branson, that said, “If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” As one of the great businessmen of our age, he believed that actually it was not the customers who should always come first but instead the employees. And you only need to look at the success of his enterprises to see how right he is.
Top tips for happy employees
Along with providing a propitious environment for training and development, and voicing your thanks regularly, I believe the following ideas can help when considering how to treat staff well.
- Don’t keep them in the dark
Communicate your plans and vision for the company, ask for their input and show them that their opinion is important to you. You never know, you may get some extremely useful insight to help you in your decision-making processes.
- Be clear about your expectations
You cannot expect staff to read minds – they need to know what is expected of them. This will help them to perform to the best of their ability.
- Be approachable
Open communication is key in any relationship, and the one between employer and employee is no exception. Ensure that your team know they can come to you with problems or a suggestion.
- Show your appreciation
Creativity and spontaneity work well here. Showing thanks can be more than just saying the words. Away days and reward schemes can be great morale boosters, as well as incentivising company goals like customer loyalty, for example.
Follow these points and you can expect to see increased productivity and loyalty, better customer relations, a reduction in absenteeism and a more skilled workforce. I believe a company that treats its people well has nothing to lose and only stands to gain.
Next month, I’ll be looking at my eleventh Principle for Healthy Business Finances: ‘The right people in the right job’. I look forward to sharing that with you then. In the meantime, don’t forget you can download the whole ‘Healthy Business Finances’ chapter free of charge here. See you next time!